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New Orleans braces for Isaac

Sean Gardner / Reuters

A local business owner takes down a sign in the French Quarter in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac in New Orleans, La., Aug. 27, 2012.

Alan Diaz / AP

Tropical Storm Isaac drenches multiple countries as it moves toward Louisiana.

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News — Residents in unprotected, low-lying areas outside New Orleans were evacuating Monday as Tropical Storm Isaac grew closer to becoming a hurricane that could make landfall in or near Louisiana almost seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck.

Isaac's wind speed increased to 70 mph, just 4 mph short of a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said in a late afternoon update. It also forecast Isaac would reach Category 2 status with 100 mph winds late Tuesday night or early Wednesday. That's a stronger Isaac than forecast earlier Monday. Full story…

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Sean Gardner / Reuters

Members of the City Hall Property Management team board up the outside windows of City Hall in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac in New Orleans, La., Aug. 27, 2012. On its current track, Isaac is due to slam into the Gulf Coast anywhere between Fla. and La. by Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Sean Gardner / Reuters

A man walks by a boarded-up business in the French Quarter as business owners prepare for tropical storm Isaac in New Orleans, La., Aug. 27, 2012.

Sean Gardner / Reuters

Rachel Reboir, left, holds up a pair of new shoes as her fellow employee Christy Lorio hangs up plywood on Magazine Street as business owners prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac in New Orleans, La., Aug. 27, 2012.